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Samsung Galaxy Note II Review

Samsung GALAXY Note II 9

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Call quality:

Samsung Galaxy Note II Review
We enjoyed a very good call quality on the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The earpiece emits strong volume, to the extent that we had to tone it down halfway, so it didn’t blast our eardrum, and the voices sounded clean as a whistle.

On the other end they could hear us very well, too, with the sound having more than enough volume, and the dual microphone noise-cancelling setup relayed our voices loud and clear, with no audible distortions. It still feels dorky to talk with such a large slab, but as far as call quality goes, you are covered.


Armed with a beefy 3,100mAh battery, the Galaxy Note II makes way only to the 3, 300mAh one in the MAXX and MAXX HD phones of Motorola, but here the unit is easily removable and replaceable.

There are no official talk times yet from Samsung, but we made one very unscientific test to check how the Note II stacks up against the Note and the Galaxy S III during the HD Super AMOLED’s most frugal consumption times - video playback. We charged all three phones to 100%, put them in airplane mode, pumped up the brightness to the max, and ran the same HD video for an hour. At the end the Note showed 83%, the Galaxy S III showed 87%, while the Note II’s monster battery discharged only 8%, bringing it down to 92%. If we can extrapolate from that, the Note II might very well reach the RAZR MAXX’s 14-hour video playback at half brightness with this battery.

Battery life

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

Higher is better
Samsung GALAXY Note II
6h 16 min (Average)
Samsung Galaxy S III
4h 8 min (Poor)
View all


If the Galaxy Note II has attracted your attention in the first place, that means you know the downsides that come with its size, and are willing to sacrifice pocket comfort and one-handed operation for its sweet screen real estate, so the size can’t really be held against it.

It is not that much more compact, compared to the original, and it could hardly be, considering we have an even larger display now. That screen alone, however, is worth the upgrade - it is the best phone screen Samsung has ever produced, and addresses all weak points of Super AMOLED displays so far in one fell swoop.

The 24% increase in battery size alone is worth the upgrade, too, as it brings top-notch endurance to the handset, and the juicer is on top of that replaceable.

Or, if you are buying a Note for the fact that it sports a stylus silo, you’d be happy to hear that the S Pen is much improved now - easier to handle, with a more natural ink flow, and a number of handy new features like Air View and Pop Up Note.

These three in aggregate make the Note II worth it both for those that are upgrading from the original, and for first time buyers. When we throw in the very good pictures and video capture, the excellent loudspeaker, the good call quality, and the expandable memory, that subpar audio capture when recording video becomes just a small fly in a big bucket of honey. While we are at the sweet tooth metaphors - you get the latest Android Jelly Bean, too.

There is not much competition to go around in the gargantuan screen category, but the LG Intuition and the first Note, of course. The advantages before the original Note are apparent, as far as money is not a problem, since the Note II will come more expensive. Regarding the LG Intuition, its stylus is an extra you have to carry with you, it is stuck with Android ICS for now, and the squarish form factor makes it even more unwieldy to handle than the Note II.

Software version: JRO03C.N7100XXALI5


  • Best HD Super AMOLED screen from Samsung to date
  • Significantly improved S Pen ergonomics and performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Powerful quad-core processor
  • Very good photos and video
  • Stellar call quality
  • Strong, clean loudspeaker


  • Subpar sound recording with video footage
PhoneArena rating:
9 Excellent
User rating:
9.2 54 Reviews

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posted on 24 Sep 2012, 08:43 52

2. ajac09 (Posts: 1482; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)

cant wait to own one!

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 10:29 16

34. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)

I bet the SGS4 will have 5.3" screen.

posted on 26 Sep 2012, 10:26

108. phonerobbie (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)

lets hope that phone doesnt come out a month after the note 2 and that it doesnt come with a quincore processer and 4gb of ram.

posted on 05 Oct 2012, 11:47

119. mills0806 (Posts: 37; Member since: 13 Nov 2011)

Lets also hope it is not going to be $300 on a 2 year contract in the U.S.

posted on 06 Oct 2012, 03:50

120. someones4 (Posts: 625; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)

5-5.1 inches is the limit for me. i wish they would have the stylus as a bonus too.. but it would look like a mini galaxy note if that's the case

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 10:45 39

37. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

what a phone..!!! good job done sammy.

btw now we can take back our thums up/down here on PA. if you thum down sone one by mistake just thumb down again and that comment will no longer have your red thumb. then you can also give it a thumb up. good job PA.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 10:50 4

40. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

Now all that PA needs to do is not block edits for something like 2 minutes after posting.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 10:52 2

41. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

I tested the function just now on your post - it works! I gave you a thumb up for mentioning the feature.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 11:50 2

49. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

thanks bro. one more good thing about SAMMY i would like to mention that here in india their phone are priced almost equal to the States however on the other hand apple and htc always price their phones way higher than the international prices. no wonder they are undisputed market leader in India as well which is very crucial for their future success.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 12:16 1

57. 23nikki1 (unregistered)

I agree...iphone 4s was about 54k (~$1000) when it was released...even now, it is piced around $800 ...I guess iphone 5 would be $1200 or atleast $1000...

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 12:26 5

58. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

exactly. thats the reason apple has not seen much success. while S2, note2 and s3 are selling like hell.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 16:15 2

87. SmartGadgetS (Posts: 20; Member since: 06 Sep 2012)

LOL.... 5 Million iPhone 5's in 3 days. But Samsung is selling like hell as well :)

posted on 25 Sep 2012, 11:15

106. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

i was talking about india bro. yeah apple sells real well.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 13:40

70. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)

Really? The SGS3 costs more than 40k in India. and it's worth only about 30-35k.

BTW i hope they improve the performance of the storage subsystem. Because that is the one and only bottleneck of today's superphones.

P.S.: I live in Rajasthan, India.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 13:47

72. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)

But I agree that they have became a top contender in India. Thanks in no small parts to their good value for money Android Phones.

Btw I am only 14 years old and I own the Galaxy Pop.

posted on 25 Sep 2012, 11:57

107. 23nikki1 (unregistered)

SGS3 costs 36k in INDIA... I'm from Hyderabad

posted on 22 Oct 2012, 20:06

128. GalaxyNote2User (Posts: 2; Member since: 18 Oct 2012)

Super Thumbs Up!!! I totally agree

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 11:42 11

48. ZEUS.the.thunder.god (unregistered)

no offenses to Ray but this phone really deserves a rating of 9.7 and is clearly a much better phone than anything currently available in the market.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 15:52 4

80. Martine (Posts: 102; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)

I totally agree with you. This device has only one con and yet it was scored 9!

9.5-9.8 would have been a fairer score for this monster.

Surely, my next phone

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 12:39 4

60. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 4278; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)

Now, i want to see iP5 heads on with this monster!!
Both have the same rating... But we all know who's gonna win!

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 10:48 5

38. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)

VZW, WHEN are you going to be offering the Note II?

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 21:31

96. Blubberkinesis (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Jun 2009)

And they better keep the same specs.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 12:15 5

55. SleepingOz (unregistered)

Same here!
GNOTE II, here I come!

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 12:38 3

59. mandkeee (Posts: 82; Member since: 27 Feb 2009)

i cant believe that this phone has 9/10

using cheap plastic phone....

posted on 25 Sep 2012, 08:36

102. Jericho (unregistered)

Hey mate dont worry, Phonearena Give it 9 because it didn't wanted to angry the s-Sheeps cause the iphone 5 got 9. Phonearena rates its reviews on the basis of the phones Popularity. Its a popularity Contest. The First note didn't get a good score cause phonearena thaught it wont sell that much but it did and So now Phonearena knows That Note II will sell well so their giving it 9.

Its about The sales and Popularity More Than it is about the Performance of the device.

posted on 25 Sep 2012, 08:41

103. g2a5b0e (Posts: 3776; Member since: 08 Jun 2012)

Sounds just like something Y2J would say.

posted on 01 Oct 2012, 06:29

116. m_hemanth7 (Posts: 1; Member since: 01 Oct 2012)

Wake up Jericho! Almost every person who has ever owned or wanted an iphone could never really have a sound reason or justify as to why they'd prefer/want one! A majority of the Apple aficianados and patrons could only come up with just one cliched response - "BECAUSE IT IS AN I-PHONE". I am not an anti iPhone/apple guy. Given its reputation for standards, I'd love to work for that company as a design engineer. I really do. But let's face the fact - It's darn too pricey and somewhat overhyped for what it brings to the table. I've been following apple events for few years now and one thing that explains its popularity has to do with the way apple products get advertised. They're very catchy and enamouring! Believe me and that's the reason why you can't have more to say than what's been aesthetically presented by the Apple's big guys! I like one in particular who really steals the show - Jonathan Ive, The vice president of Design.

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 16:09 3

84. Jelly_Bean (Posts: 109; Member since: 11 Sep 2012)

It should have got 10/10 :(

Can't wait for ma beast now :(

posted on 24 Sep 2012, 18:26

89. lsutigers (Posts: 821; Member since: 08 Mar 2009)

5806 on Quadrant, that's about what my EVO LTE gets with the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual-Core "Krait" processor.

posted on 01 Oct 2012, 06:27

115. IHateApple (banned) (Posts: 122; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)

I am still waiting for PHOLED to be used in Sammy's OLED displays.

P.S.: PHOLEDs will initially be 2 times more efficient than current OLEDs. But they will become 4 times more efficient after the technology matures.

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Samsung GALAXY Note II

Samsung GALAXY Note II

OS: Android 4.4.2 4.3 4.1.2 4.1.1
view full specs
Display5.5 inches, 720 x 1280 pixels (265 ppi) Super AMOLED
Camera8 megapixels
Samsung Exynos 4 Quad, Quad-core, 1600 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 processor
Size5.94 x 3.17 x 0.37 inches
(151 x 80.5 x 9.4 mm)
6.44 oz  (182 g)
Battery3100 mAh, 35 hours talk time

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